Perky as a poppy

2015-05-13 06:00
PHOTOS: sourced

One of the legends of the war is that following the slaughter in Flanders – red poppies started blooming there the year after.

PHOTOS: sourced One of the legends of the war is that following the slaughter in Flanders – red poppies started blooming there the year after.

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POPPIES conjure up an image of happy and bright colours, but in actual fact the flower is closely associated to death – it is the official Flower of Remembrance for he hundreds of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during World War 1. One of the legends of the war is that following the slaughter in Flanders – red poppies started blooming there the year after.

In ancient Greek and Roman mythology poppies were used as offerings for the dead and because they are most commonly, blood-red in colour their long time symbolism and association with death is obvious.

According to Aggie Horticulture, while the general symbol for poppies is eternal sleep, oblivion and imagination, she also lists the red poppy as denoting pleasure. In classical mythology, the red signifies the promise of resurrection after death.

Red is not the only colour - and each colour has its meaning. White poppies were used to console while yellow poppies symbolise wealth and success. Poppies were also a symbol of sleep and peace mainly because of the opium extracted from them which used to be given as a sedative. Egyptian doctors used to give their patients poppy seeds to eat to relieve pain.

One of the most favoured poppies for modern day gardens are Iceland Poppies. Standing approximately 30cm high when fully grown and available in either single colours or white rimmed pastel shades. They can either be planted in groups or as borders and mid-borders and are the perfect complement to other spring annuals.

Poppies do not handle the heat too well, it’s best to get them in the ground as early in the season as possible if you’d like a showy display, right through into spring .Poppies need a home where they bask in the winter sun, preferably all day. They are incredibly rewarding, but need a little bit more TLC until they have found their feet in their new home.

Plant seedlings about 15cm apart and try not to plant them too deep. Using the seedling tray they came in will assist in judging this depth correctly. Watering the seedling tray before transplanting them will go a long way to making sure they don’t feel unnecessarily disturbed as they can be lifted out and replanted with the tray soil still intact.

Water your poppies frequently until they are established and firmly rooted in their new home. Once they start blooming, remember to deadhead the spent flowers regularly to keep them flowering.

For more information, visit - Bedding Plant Growers Association

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